ARC REVIEW: The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig
Published February 16th 2016 by Greenwillow Books
YA > Fantasy
eARC for Review
Purchase links: Amazon | Nook
BLURB FROM GOODREADS:
Sixteen-year-old Nix Song is a time-traveller. She, her father and their crew of time refugees travel the world aboard The Temptation, a glorious pirate ship stuffed with treasures both typical and mythical. Old maps allow Nix and her father to navigate not just to distant lands, but distant times – although a map will only take you somewhere once. And Nix’s father is only interested in one time, and one place: Honolulu 1868. A time before Nix was born, and her mother was alive. Something that puts Nix’s existence rather dangerously in question…
Nix has grown used to her father’s obsession, but only because she’s convinced it can’t work. But then a map falls into her father’s lap that changes everything. And when Nix refuses to help, her father threatens to maroon Kashmir, her only friend (and perhaps, only love) in a time where Nix will never be able to find him. And if Nix has learned one thing, it’s that losing the person you love is a torment that no one can withstand. Nix must work out what she wants, who she is, and where she really belongs before time runs out on her forever.
I bet the reason I didn’t pick up this book earlier was because I am a cranky bitch, and the number of pages this has probably scared the ever living shit out of me. So. After reading this book, my first emotion was contentment. I was content. The Girl From Everywhere has everything I need from a YA Fantasy—it has a maps, really picturesque locations, local food from said locations and oooh it has a swoony love interest. I was content. But here’s the thing—after hearing a shit ton of stuff about this book, after having pie squealed on receiving a copy for review, after seeing all the people of GR loving this book, “contentment” is really the wrong emotion. I want to be happy and excited and thrilled. And my rating should definitely be higher than a 3, right?
The Girl From Everywhere begins right in the centre of the action. Nix Song, our protagonist, is a very clever, very talented time traveller on a ship. With her father, Slate–the Captain, who has special gifts of his own—she uses maps to hurl the ship through time and reach a specific destination, in a specific year. So far so great. But as the story unfolds, you discover that the path the ship takes, the places it travels to aren’t just a random drivel of locations; it is, in fact, a part of a a thorough, well planned search that Slate carries out for Nix’s mother who died in childbirth. Of course, Nix has no chance but to help her troubled father get back to the woman he loves, but going back to her would mean that Nix might never be born. Which means that the Nix of the present may perish. This is, I think, all you need to know before you hop into the book. Any more research may be spoiler-y, so you might want to steer clear of that.
The book mainly consists of the “pirates” aboard the ship—Slate, who is the Captain, and the crew including Nix, Kashmir, Rotgut, a ghost! There is so much diversity among the people aboard, and that was one of the things I loved most about the crew. They were a funny lot, a loyal crew, and yet there was a kind of experience that these people had, that was unmatched. The way they spoke, the way they did certain things was indicative that the whole time-travelling jig wasn’t all smooth sailing (he he, I love puns) and I loved seeing that piece of authenticity!
Nix was…difficult to hate. That’s the closest I can get to describing my experience of reading from her point of view. You see, she’s not exactly the type you love in an instant, but she’s also no Bella Swan. She’s tougher than she looks, and more complacent than she shows. Her loyalties are unmatched, but there are times when you wonder if she’s going to just pick up her skirts and make a run for it. Basically? UNPREDICTABLE. Her habit of overthinking is abhorrent, almost annoying to the point of wanting to commit bloody murder, but this endeared her to me immensely. I’m the “majorly over-think until you lose your shit” types, and this was something I understood. Kashmir (or Kash) was my favourite character in the book. He is the ultimate book boyfriend, but his friendship with Nix is #goals. His sass is unmatched and he’s a thief who had my heart from the moment he entered. Complete and absolute sweetheart. He had some of the funniest lines in the book, and I’d say he was the perfect, charming yin to Nix’s complicated, troubled yang.
My main reason of the 3 star rating was a couple of things I’d like to talk about next. Firstly, love triangle. Cannot stand those if my life depended on it. The premises does not even hint at a third player in the story, and so I went into the book not expecting this at all. The third guy was…bleh. Bland. Too perfect, if that is a thing. I was all, “No no nO NIX WHAT ARE YOU DOING?! ABORT ABORT ABORT.” The sad part? Nix spends more time with this guy than Kash. sob. sob sob sob. Secondly, like I said, I was still mainly undecided about whether or not I liked Nix or not. Didn’t hate her—far from it—but gahh. I can’t make up my mind about her. Guess I’ll only know about her once the next book comes out. NEXT YEAR. sob sob sob.
Heidi Heilig has created a very complex, well-written, and might I say, a very charming set of characters for a story that is more myth and plot driven than anything else. I loved how each chapter, each thread of dialogue brought to light something new about the characters, something you might have missed before. Add to that the fact that most of the book takes place in 19th century Hawaii, all the myths and traditions, and the entire *cough*heist*cough* she-bang was done beautifully, you can’t complain at all that the book isn’t well researched! If you’re okay with the whole still-unresolved-love-traingle thing, please please go read this book! Maps, diversity, swoons, ships, dragons—this book really does have everything!